Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Health Education

School Library Support of Health Education in China: A Preliminary Study

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Health Education

School Library Support of Health Education in China: A Preliminary Study

Article excerpt


This preliminary study investigates the current situation of school library support of K-12 health education in China. A survey of 42 school librarians and 115 K-12 teachers from selected schools was conducted to find out their views about school library's role in school health education and their current practice of library use in health teaching. Collection and circulation statistics were gathered from 29 schools where the Hua Xia 2000 school library automation system has been in operation. Research findings indicate that Chinese school libraries' involvement in and support of health education has been rather limited, both in student/teacher services and in collection development.

Key words: School libraries; School health education; People's Republic of China.


Health education of K-12 students has been a key part of China's recent reform of standard K-12 curriculum. It has been repeatedly stipulated as a focal point of national campaign in the Chinese government's annual resolution briefs (1). As students learn about health-related topics in classroom as part of the standard curriculum, initiatives started by the Chinese government (2) and health promoting programs by international agencies through local authorities (3-6) brought China's school health education to a higher level.

With all these happening, it is interesting to find out what role school libraries in China have been playing in student health education. However, an exhaustive literature search found no systematic study of school library's involvement in and contribution to school-based health education programs in China or elsewhere. Nevertheless, there are some general works on health-related collection development (7), curricular support of physical and health education, male and female adolescents' different preferences of media forms of health education materials (8), and controversy on school libraries' handling of sex- and HIV/AIDS-related materials. (9)

This article reports a preliminary study of teacher and school librarian survey and analysis of collation/circulation data. Its content is organized as follows. First, we give an overview of school library development and school health education in China. Then, we describe data gathering and data analysis procedures and address related methodological issues. Research findings are presented with acknowledgement of limitations of this study. Finally, the article concludes with discussion of implications and future research directions.


This section provides a background for the study by highlighting school library development in China and school health education in the larger context of the country's national campaign of health education and health promotion.

School Library Development

Development of school libraries in China has been a rather recent phenomenon, and it picked up paces only after 1993 (10). In 1991, the Ministry of Education put into effect a policy document Regulation on Libraries/Reading Rooms of School Libraries. In 1995, China's provincial governments started implementing a school certification program as part of their campaign to reach the national goal of mandatory K-9 education. To be certified, schools need to have a library or a reading room, with a specified size of collection, in addition to other required teaching facilities and equipments.

The government's official statistics showed that by the end of 2000, 90% of counties met the certification standards (11) and that 64.3% of high school libraries nationwide met the certification requirement in collection size. The ratio was much lower in less developed regions. (12) The reported figures may be highly inflated due to local governments' fabrication of data and school administration's fraudulence during certification visits, mostly in rural China. (11, 13-15)

It is difficult to get an accurate picture about school library development in China. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.